Missoula Mayor John Engen will keep piling on the years with a win in the local election Tuesday, earning a fourth term from voters.
He was already the longest-serving mayor by two years, and with plenty of “fire in his belly,” Engen will add four years to the record.
Vote tallies shortly after 10 p.m. showed Engen with 12,700 votes — 58.14 percent of the vote. Triepke's 8,5941 votes comprised 40.93 percent.
Engen walked up on stage at the Public House, beginning his speech over Frank Sinatra’s voice.
“The theme song should be ‘I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends,’” Engen said. “This is about us.”
In his speech, he made two promises for his upcoming term: to fix the housing affordability issue and pay close attention to the property tax situation, saying the city would be “exquisite stewards” of the taxpayer’s money.
Engen thanked the crowd of about 150 people for their continuing support, 12 years and counting.
“You proved it once again in the polls,” Engen said. “Tomorrow I get to go to work for the city of Missoula.”
Though Engen easily won, it was the first time he failed to earn 60 percent of the vote, at least according to early returns.
Engen also outraised Triepke, pulling in over $103,000 in donations to her $48,600.
Triepke ran on a campaign attacking Engen's administration for wasteful spending and mistaken priorities. She ran a self-described "grassroots" campaign, driven by social media, based on the idea that a majority of Missoulians were done with Engen after more than a decade of leadership.
She posted on her campaign Facebook page Tuesday morning, thanking her supporters.
"No matter which way the election turns out, we have achieved our goal of raising awareness about the issues that many Missoulians are facing," Triepke wrote. "This race is not about the candidates but the citizens of Missoula!"
Engen's most recent term saw the city take possession of Mountain Water Company, the beginning of reconstructing Missoula’s bridges, and the first city property tax decrease in almost a decade.
In a September interview with the Missoulian, Engen said he was looking forward to going “back to basics” after spending so long on the Mountain Water case.
Voter turnout was 43 percent, according to the final returns posted to missoulavotes.com.
The last mayoral race, in 2013, saw a 43 percent return.
Voters also chose six City Council members. Of those six races, only Wards 3, 4 and 5 saw contested races.
In Ward 3, Heather Harp bested Jon Van Dyke and Thomas A. Winter, with 60.74 percent of the vote to Van Dyke's 19.74 percent and Winter's 18.19 percent.
In Ward 4, Jesse L. Ramos won with 42.39 percent to Chris Badgley's 29.09 percent and incumbent Jon Wilkins' 25 percent. Blogger and author Greg Strandberg trailed far behind the others with 3.14 percent.
In Ward 5, Stacie Anderson defeated Cathy Deschamps, 58 percent to 41.6 percent.
Bryan Von Lossberg was uncontested in Ward 1, as were Jordan Hess in Ward 2 and Julie Merritt in Ward 6.
On Monday night, Missoula City Council members chose Mirtha Becerra to hold the Ward 2 seat being vacated by Ruth Swaney, who resigned effective Tuesday.